How should we get around in France?

Mr S doesn't want to drive on the wrong side of the road. The right side being the left side and the wrong side being the right side. So he says he doesn't want to drive.

Because I want to go to little backroad places, I don't want to be struggling with trains and buses and luggage. I want the freedom and independence that a car gives you.

I figure as I'm left handed and left/right confused (which I wrote about here), it won't make much of a difference to me. I just have to chant, "Mr S in the gutter."

My downfall is I can only drive an automatic. Seems most cars in France are manual. Automatics are not as common or cheap. So I got in early and booked a car. There are some horror stories of automatic-needing customers booking automatics and the car hire company taking their bookings but not supplying an automatic car or making them wait for hours while one is sourced. I hope my luck will hold.

I did investigate leasing but we are not driving for long enough. Also there are not as many pick up places for leased cars as there are for hire cars.

I'm not going to be mad enough to drive in Paris. We will drop our car in Tours and catch the TGV.

My fear is driving into the towns and trying to find parking. We are staying in some old centres that have no, or very limited, parking.

How do you prefer to get around when travelling in a different country? Have you coped driving on the different side of the road from your normal side? Or was it horrendous?

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11 thoughts on “How should we get around in France?

  1. Never tried driving on the wrong side and don’t think I’m in a hurry to try it. I think you’re both very brave – particularly Mr S, who may end up in the gutter.

  2. Mr D confidently declared, “I’ll be fine” and we hired a car to drive to Switzerland (from France.) The first 10 minutes out of the hire depot were the scariest!! We drove straight out and turned into the face of oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the road! It was an instinct. Driving in towns requires constant concentration. But highway driving was a breeze. (How exciting! Not long to go!!) 😀

  3. We found driving fine in France – much easier than here – every road had a visible sign and good signage outside the towns too. We never got the hang of their Zebra crossings though – over here you stand and wait until the cars stop which is relatively quickly then proceed across – you would wait all day in France the cars didn’t stop – so then we tried as the locals and just launched ourselves onto the crossing – the cars still didn’t stop!

  4. I have not been confident enough yet to drive on the wrong side of the road in another country. So I take the public transit. Not sure if that will ever change! I am glad you’re trying it – I will drive vicariously 🙂

      • Rom took a few driving lessons to acclimate to driving in Canada. He has not been driving in the UK because our destinations have never needed a car. That will change (his parents won’t be able to drive us around their local area forever) so Rom will take the plunge and rent a car there on a future trip.

  5. You know about my recent successes! Price was a factor in why I went manual, and I’m thankful I polished up those rusty skills last year!! I had no issues with parking but didn’t really do much, as in the hotels and oradour all had car parks. I can think of so many ways things could have gone wrong but not one of them did!

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